FirstFT: US undermines hopes of diplomatic solution to Ukraine crisis


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The United States has dashed hopes that Moscow wants to find a diplomatic way out of the Ukraine crisis as officials warned that the Russian military this week continued to step up plans to invade its neighbor.

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, yesterday expressed hope that the standoff could be resolved peacefully when he said Moscow was ready to continue talking to the West about its security concerns and that there might still be a “way forward” in negotiations with the west.

But officials in Washington said the comments, which were made during a televised meeting with Vladimir Putin, were at odds with the progress of military preparations for an assault.

US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to a call that “there remains a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to withdraw from its threats to Ukraine”.

Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, who is due to speak with Putin today after meeting his counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday, stressed that Ukraine’s NATO membership was “not on the agenda of the day,” a potential attempt to assuage Russia’s security concerns. Scholz should come to the meeting with clear goals and messages, writes our editorial board.

Share your thoughts on the Ukraine-Russia conflict with me on [email protected]. I will perhaps present them in a future edition of the newsletter. Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa — Jennifer

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“It’s a different landscape than five or 10 years ago when the banks were rocking and rolling” – Alan Johnson, Johnson Associates

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3. Ex-Goldman banker accused of pocketing millions in 1MDB scandal US prosecutors have accused Roger Ng, a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, of pocketing millions in bribes from the multi-billion dollar 1MDB scandal, as his criminal trial began in New York yesterday. Ng, who pleaded not guilty, faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.

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GDP data EU, Poland and Hungary release fourth quarter gross domestic product figures. The bloc also has employment data and December merchandise trade figures.

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business profits The accommodation specialist Airbnb, the gaming platform Roblox and the entertainment group ViacomCBS publish their quarterly results. Miner Glencore delivers preliminary annual results.

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Poor regional results hit Spain’s centre-right If all had gone as planned, Pablo Casado of the Popular Party would have regained his credentials as prime minister-in-waiting this week. Instead, voters instead sent a clear message to the center-right: if he wants to return to national power, he may have to do so with his far-right rival Vox.

You can’t hide from the jerks at work Are coworkers: a) great because you can pitch ideas as you head to a well-ventilated, sanitized bar for a drink? b) a fatality to tolerate? Or c) total shaking? Social psychologist Tessa West’s new book speaks directly to the fear that c) is the only honest answer.


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Ruth Rogers, chef and owner of the River Café

Ruth Rogers, chef and owner of the River Café, hosts “River Café Table 4”

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